CHICAGO (CBS) — Alfonso Bennett’s sisters were planning his funeral when he walked through the door, and now Bennett says the mix up is costing him money.
Alfonso Bennett says on the morning of April 29 at 6:45 he was home. At that same time, Chicago police were called to 4732 S. Wabash. A naked, unresponsive man was found under a vehicle. His face and body were badly beaten.
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The man was believed to be Bennett.
“Unbelievable. No, couldn’t have been. I’m here with you now,” Bennett says.
A person at the scene, who was captured on police body camera, told officers the man was Elijah Bennett. Police ran that name through a database for a face match. They found no Elijah but did find an Alfonso Bennett. Police gave the mugshot to Mercy Hospital.
Bennett’s sisters stayed by the man’s side at Mercy until he died.
“We said that that doesn’t look like our brother,” Bennett’s sister said.
He would later be identified through fingerprints as Elisha Brittman.
“Our hearts go out to the Brittman family because we were by his side,” said Bennett’s sister Brenda Bennett-Johnson.
“With this person being unrecognizable, identifiable, fingerprints should have been taken at that time to identify precisely who that gentleman was,” said Bennett.
Chicago police say there was no need and no request by the family to do fingerprints because they had identified the man in ICU as their loved one.
Bennett’s sisters would learn he was alive when he showed up at a sister’s house just days before the funeral they had planned for him.
“I hadn’t been in touch for like a week or two,” Bennett said. “I’m looking at them like, ‘Wow, I’m ready to like barbecue or something, and they’re looking at me like I was a ghost.”
He became emotional when talking about his sisters by the man’s bedside.
“I understand that, and I feel that. And that’s a very detrimental feeling to have about someone that you know,” he said.
Bennett says his life has been turned upside down since he was declared dead.
“At one time or another somebody contacted the social security system and advised them that I was deceased,” he said.
His disability and social security payments stopped. He has also contacted Medicaid, which is charging Brittman’s nearly $1 million hospital stay to him.
He hopes to have the situation resolved and his deceased status reversed in the next few days.